ANDERSON, Taylor, 24, died as a result of the tsunami in Japan. She was living her dream as a Japanese Exchange Teaching (JET) Program Teacher and packed a lot of living into her 24 years. She was devoted to her family, friends and students. Taylor attended Millwood School, St. Catherine's (2004) and Randolph-Macon College (2008). She had a passion for Japan since she first had Japanese classes at Millwood School (K-8). She continued her studies of Japan through high school and was involved in the Asian Studies and Political Science programs in college. She was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority at Randolph-Macon College, where she formed lasting relationships with her fellow sisters. During her summers,Taylor spread the joys of Japanese language and culture to high school students at the VCU Japanese Language Academy, where she realized her love for teaching. Upon graduation from Randolph-Macon, she applied to the JET program. Taylor was stationed in Ishinomaki, Japan, in August 2008. For two-and-a-half years, she biked through wind, rain and snow to teach American culture and language to children ranging from kindergarten to ninth grade. Taylor was fully committed to her students, creating lesson plans that captured their attention, fostered creativity and most importantly, developed their minds by expanding their views of the world. But Taylor wasn't done when she rode home. In her spare time, she taught conversational English to a group of adults who called themselves the Kiwi Club, with whom she also enjoyed singing karaoke. After two-and-a-half years, she had grown to be an irreplaceable part of the community and was planning to return home in August. Taylor was not just enthusiastic about Japan but the world, having traveled to South Korea, Taiwan, Hawaii and Italy. Her weekends were full of friends, hiking, snowboarding and sight-seeing. Taylor was always busy with her projects, whether she was making jewelry, origami or a presentation for her students. Above all, she had a lifelong passion for reading. Taylor made amazing friends in Japan but still managed to keep up the great relationships she had made while in Virginia. Most importantly, she continued to talk to her boyfriend, James Kenney, and their relationship grew from afar. James visited her twice in Japan, sharing in her passion for the country. He planned on proposing to her upon her return to Richmond in August. As she did for her many students, whether they were Japanese or American, Taylor instilled a love for foreign culture in the hearts of her family. Her exuberance for the world she lived in overflowed. Taylor's smile, humor and intelligence infected those around her, inspiring learning and curiosity, but mostly, unrecoverable experiences and friendships. From the city on the James River to the fishing town of Ishinomaki, the ephemeral life of a true ambassador filled the hearts of many and has left them gaping. The vigils of restless mourners in the place she grew up and in the land halfway around the world she so loved silently soothe Taylor's spirit, a spirit now known and shared by distant lands, a testament to her life. Taylor is survived by her mother, Jeanne; father, Andy; sister, Julz; brother, Jeff; and grandparents, Lora B. Anderson and Leroy L. Anderson Jr. A service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 2, at St. Edward Church at 10701 W. Huguenot Rd., Richmond, Va. 23235. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund for the purpose of rebuilding schools in the region where Taylor taught. Donations may be made at www.st.catherines.org/
tayloranderson. Checks should be made payable to St. Catherine's School Foundation. The school asks that donors write "Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift" in the memo line and mail donations to Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift, c/o St. Catherine's Foundation, 6001 Grove Ave., Richmond, Va. 23226.
This obituary was originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.